So now, the end has come. Yes, sadly, I've just this minute finished the fourth and final part of the Appleby Farm series by Cathy Bramley. And now? Well, now I've got to wait for Cathy's next book, from her next series, with fingers drumming on my desk. (This next one, incidentally, is called Wickham Hall – and I've just seen it's out next month. Phew! How does she do it?)
Anyway, I digress. Back to the Lake District, back to Appleby Farm; back to the chickens, cows, the rolling fields and, most of all, back to Freya.
In part four, Love Is In The Air, Freya is busy. She is organising so many things, spinning many plates in the air, but thankfully finding help from unexpected places. One of these places is from her friend, Lizzie. Lizzie offers to help Freya out, as Freya is working extremely hard on these spinning plates, and becomes an unpaid waitress. The perk of the job, for Lizzie, is free tea and cake. And the cake of choice at this particular moment is a 'huge, crunchy and chewy' pistachio meringue. A meringue which melts in the mouth and has delicious chunks of pistachio to give it that extra oomph factor.
Seriously, I'd work for free if I was paid in cakes*.
So, yes, pistachio meringues. That is all I'm going to tell you about this book. No spoilers here because I know many of you are waiting for the paperback (out 13th August) so you can read it all at once. Suffice it to say, Cathy has created, like she did with Ivy Lane, a wonderful world, filled with food, the outdoors, food, friendships, food again and romance.
In the back I am honoured to have a recipe included. And guess what it's for? Yes! Pistachio meringues. So, here is that recipe, just for you. Enjoy.
*Not really. But it's tempting.
Electric mixer, large baking tray, baking parchment, pencil
4 eggs whites
200g caster sugar
50g shelled pistachio nuts, bashed into small pieces
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 fan.
- Mix the egg whites on a fast speed until stiff and able to form peaks.
- Slow the mixer down but keep going and slowly pour in the caster sugar.
- Mix on a fast speed until the mixture, again, can form stiff peaks.
- Gently mix in the bashed up pistachios.
- Lay out the baking parchment onto the baking tray – use a small blob of the meringue mixture to stick the parchment down in each corner.
- Draw four large circles with a pencil – I drew round a bowl measuring 12cm in diameter.
- Scoop the meringue evenly onto the four circles. Use your spoon to smooth or create a swirl effect up to the pencil edges.
- Place in the oven and immediately turn it down to 130 fan.
- Bake for one hour. When the timer goes off leave to cool in the oven for at least one more hour.